8 July 1553 – Mary I declares herself queen

Tudor History Tours with the Tudor Society

On this day in history, Saturday 8th July 1553, the day after she'd been informed of her half-brother Edward VI's death, Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VIII declared herself queen.

Mary gathered together her loyal household at Kenninghall and informed them of Edward VI's death, stating that "the right to the crown of England had therefore descended to her by divine and by human law". The news was greeted by cheering and the household proclaiming her Queen. Mary then wrote a letter to the privy council telling them in no uncertain terms that they were to recognise her as Queen: to "cause our right and title to the crown and government of this realm to be proclaimed in our city of London and other places as your wisdom shall seem good." However, Edward VI's 'devise for the succession' had named Lady Jane Grey as his successor and Jane was officially proclaimed queen in London on 10th July 1553.

Mary was able to rally support and was eventually proclaimed queen on 19th July 1553, becoming Queen Mary I.

Also on this day in history, 8th July 1549, in the reign of Edward VI, Kett's Rebellion began in Norfolk. Click here to read more.

(Based on an extract from On This Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway)

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8 July 1553 – Mary I declares herself queen